Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

July 2006
Cover Story Muslim Perspectives Event Diary - August 2006 Muslim Heritage Feature Community Initiative Update Editorial Opinion Bouquets and Brickbats The Muslim World Islamic Economy Monitor People Track Community Round-Up Muslim & Education Issues Figuring Out Follow-Up Essay Debunking Myths Feedback Workshop Diary Quran Speaks to You Hadith Talking Business Case Study Scholars of Renown Quran & Science Living Islam Our Dialogue Facts & Faith Spirituality Reflections Fiqh Women in Focus Health Chart Guidelines Soul Talk From Darkness to Light Book Review Career Guidance Scholarships Last Word Miscellany In Public Interest Time for Tales Words of Wisdom Poet's Corner Culture & Tradition Matrimonial
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Aurangzeb's Gift for Temples
Md. Ashraful Yasin Hussain

The new column Debunking Myths by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj is interesting. The piece titled: ‘Were Muslim Rulers Brute, Fanatic and Intolerant?” in June, 2006 issue of Islamic Voice produced a rich fund of information.

Umananda, the oldest temple of Bhagwan Bhole Shankar situated on the river Brahmaputra in Guwahati, was not only not harmed during emperor Aurangazeb’s conquest of Assam, but was also conferred vast parcels of land. Aurangzeb conquered the area of Kajoli, Bahbari and Pandu along with the Itakhuli Fort from Ahom dynasty. According to History and Culture of Assam, an anthropological research paper published by Kamrup Anushandhan Samitee and edited by S. C. Goswami, the conqueror conferred the ownership of vast tracts of land on the official pujari of the temple of Umananda known as Doloi (Brahmins) in September 1667. The areas of the grant measures 13 square kilometers today. Interestingly, the Government of Assam accepted the demand of the Dolois to exempt them from any taxes on the land. The official declaration (Sanad) of Mughal’s Emperor was written on a stone plate popularly known as “Shilalipi”. Aurangzeb had also sanctioned annual grant to Maa Kamakhya Mandir- another famous temple situated at a distance of 8 kilometres from Umananda on the hill of Nilachaal, Guwahati.


Aurangzeb Razed Kashi Temple
Balwant Singh Lahuru

Several temples were razed during the rule of the Muslims. Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi is a living testimony for everyone to see. At least two Sikh gurus were killed by Mughal emperors. However, we need not rip open the old wounds. Muslims must think how to fight the fundamentalists who distort the verses of the Quran to justify Jihad against infidels. It is true that minorities are facing a lot of difficulties and miseries in India, but Muslims are also facing hard times under autocratic rulers in Muslim countries. Muslims must think about economic progress from a new angle. Had Pakistan not come into being, perhaps the areas of Punjab and Haryana would not have developed the way they did after independence.

I had been to Sikh pilgrim centres in Pakistan in 1994. All that we heard in Pakistan is “Islam is a complete code of life, enjoy the bliss by converting to Islam”. We had been there to visit the holy places of Sikhs. Not to convert. How naïve are the Muslims. How do they expect others to convert to Islam when there is so much bloodshed in Muslim countries? Sufi and dervishes spread the message of benevolence. But today the Islamic movement envisions imposing Sharia.

Balwant Singh Lahuru
B-257, Ranjit Avenue
Amritsar, Punjab

Let's Not Communalise History
A. I. Makki

The series of articles by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj is enlightening. It is indeed necessary that Hindus and Muslim refrain from looking at history from communal angle. The following is an extract from Indian Inheritance, Vol. III, Arts, History and Culture, published by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay and edited by K. M. Munshi and R. R. Diwakar.

Hindus and Muslims follow different religions and their social life mainly derives sanction from them. Some of the religious rites and customs, which each community follows, to all outward appearance are irreconcilable. But in some of the most fundamental things, the differences between the two communities are no greater than they are among the followers of a faith going under one comprehensive name, and who admittedly live peacefully as members of one nation.

“In actual practice…Muslim kings endowed temples and ‘mathas’ and granted ‘jagirs’ to pious Hindu subjects…students of history of South India…come across numerous instances of such grants made to Brahmans by Adil Shahi, Kutub Shahi, and Asaf Shahi Dynasties…. Likewise even Maratha rulers made such endowments even after their strife with the Delhi Emperors”. (Atulananda Chakravarthy, in his book “Call it politics” pp.44)”.